Bee Powerline Habitat – Parasites

Bee Powerline Habitat – Parasites

Music; Ambience: Bees

JM: The sound of bees usually brings to mind honey, hives and the insect equivalent of socialism. Well, it turns our a number of bees are loners and some of them are decidedly anti-social. Parasitic bees actually feed off of their neighbors. I’m Jim Metzner and this is Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Kimberly Russell is with the American Museum of Natural History. She says that in order to understand how parasitic bees operate, you’ve got to know a little basic bee biology.

KR: “These are not social bees like we tend to think of, like honeybees that all live in a big colony or even bumblebees who form big nests of lots of individuals. These are solitary bees. And so what they do is each female makes her own little nest for her own little family. And she provisions the nest into cells.
And in each cell, she’ll lay an egg. And with that egg she’ll provision a source of food for that larvae to eat while it’s developing. And so, she’ll gather pollen and nectar and create a little ball of food. And so they have a ball of food in each cell of this nest for the larvae to eat once it hatches out. And so that’s why the female bees are so busy, cause they’re running around preparing all this food for all their babies. Whereas the parasitic species, what they do is they cheat. They’ll lay their egg in a cell that’s already been provisioned by another female bee. And so they sort of wait for the female bee to go away and they go to the entrance of her nest and they just sort of lay their eggs in each of the cells . So that when their larvae hatch, it will actually eat the food ball before the bee that should be there eats the ball. So. Typically they’ll hatch before the other egg.”

JM: But Dr. Russell says that having these parasitic bees around is not necessarily a bad thing.

KR: “Having parasitic bees tends to mean you’ve got sort of a healthy bee community, I think, because it just speaks to the diversity of the community So the fact that you find parasitic bees is sort of a good sign.”

JM: We’ll learn more about bees and bee habitats in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Bee Powerline Habitat - Parasites

Forget about the hive: some bees are downright anti-social!
Air Date:10/10/2012
Scientist:
Transcript:

Bee Powerline Habitat - Parasites

Music; Ambience: Bees

JM: The sound of bees usually brings to mind honey, hives and the insect equivalent of socialism. Well, it turns our a number of bees are loners and some of them are decidedly anti-social. Parasitic bees actually feed off of their neighbors. I'm Jim Metzner and this is Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Kimberly Russell is with the American Museum of Natural History. She says that in order to understand how parasitic bees operate, you've got to know a little basic bee biology.

KR: "These are not social bees like we tend to think of, like honeybees that all live in a big colony or even bumblebees who form big nests of lots of individuals. These are solitary bees. And so what they do is each female makes her own little nest for her own little family. And she provisions the nest into cells.
And in each cell, she'll lay an egg. And with that egg she'll provision a source of food for that larvae to eat while it's developing. And so, she'll gather pollen and nectar and create a little ball of food. And so they have a ball of food in each cell of this nest for the larvae to eat once it hatches out. And so that's why the female bees are so busy, cause they're running around preparing all this food for all their babies. Whereas the parasitic species, what they do is they cheat. They'll lay their egg in a cell that's already been provisioned by another female bee. And so they sort of wait for the female bee to go away and they go to the entrance of her nest and they just sort of lay their eggs in each of the cells . So that when their larvae hatch, it will actually eat the food ball before the bee that should be there eats the ball. So. Typically they'll hatch before the other egg."

JM: But Dr. Russell says that having these parasitic bees around is not necessarily a bad thing.

KR: "Having parasitic bees tends to mean you've got sort of a healthy bee community, I think, because it just speaks to the diversity of the community So the fact that you find parasitic bees is sort of a good sign."

JM: We'll learn more about bees and bee habitats in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.